Beauty Out Of Ashes

Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

Last photos before surgery… Jan 2015

There is nothing more thrilling than taking one of the sunniest and most relaxing times of the year and saddling up to read a book on suffering. Yet, this is where I find myself. I am enjoying it so much that I have found multitudes of excuses not to sit down and read so I am several days behind the rest of the group. I use a daily app from Proverbs 31 Ministries called 1st 5. Right now we are reading the book of Job. For those of you who might not know, Job is a book in the Bible. Job pronounced J – O – B, is a man who lived a decent life, suffered greatly and then returned to a decent life.

At this point in the narrative Job has in a few days time lost all his children, (he had 10) and all his livestock (all his wealth). They perished in a series of raids from neighboring tribes and natural disasters which also consumed his land and dwellings. Shortly thereafter Job was physically struck with boils all over his body. The only thing that was spared was his life and his wife. She’s not the most helpful soul and I suppose she was spared to cause Job even more grief.

Job scraped his skin with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes. His wife said to him, “Are you still trying to maintain your integrity? Curse God and die.” Job 2:3

He spends the whole of chapter 3 cursing the day he was born. Job wondered aloud why if God knew he was going to suffer this much, why had he allowed him to be born at all?

A little over a year ago I was gearing up for my 2nd mastectomy surgery. I had recently finished chemo and radiation. During chemo, our business had taken a huge hit as a result of circumstances out of our control. These circumstances had forced us to contact a lawyer as the situation rendered us in a position to not be able to make the monthly note payments (note to future self … don’t go into debt for any reason!) and keep the doors open at the same time.

The day before surgery my besties had gathered at our favorite sandwich shop to hang with me and offer their love and support for the upcoming weeks of recovery. Just as I was headed out the door to meet them, Mr. Wonderful called and said we were being counter sued. I had no time for lunch. I showed up at the restaurant and for the 5 minutes I had to spare, I sat there and cried. Breast removal, lawyers, chemo, radiation, medical bills… it was just too much. I told my friends I wish I knew what I was doing wrong so that I could fix it and the suffering would end. There were more than a few times during that season when I asked God if he would just take me home. I didn’t curse my birth but I was so ready to be done living.

The Art of Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

Besties…

God was fulfilling a promise in my life clearly stated in the book of John…

…. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world. John 16:33

He promised there would be trouble/suffering/pain. No one is spared, not even his one and only son. What I tried to do and what Job did do is to trust God in the midst of the pain. There is grief and tears and a lot of times no horizon of relief to look towards but whether we can see it or not God is always in control. I wasn’t real thrilled at the prospect of reading this particular book of the Bible. Focusing on suffering makes me feel anxious about what our next round will look like. I still have a hard time approaching suffering with an attitude of joy. In my head, I know God creates beauty out of ashes but I have to keep reminding my heart.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

Rest Involves Work

 

T and R 2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Playing At The River Summer 2017

I was reading a blog post a few weeks back about how much work it takes to be able to rest. I felt such relief when I read this because I thought it was just me. It’s not that the work is bad, I enjoy preparing the pizza for our friends who come over on Friday nights and I like meal planning for camping trips and gathering up all the supplies needed to bring it all together. The pizza and the supply gathering are what make these events special and memorable but it’s not easy.

It’s kind of funny if you think about it. There is twice as much work to be done while you are getting ready to rest. Not only is there the everyday tasks of keeping home and work life running smoothly, there is also all the extra work of trying to have all your bases covered while you rest. If you are leaving town, there is extra budgeting, meal planning, packing, laundry and lists and lists of items written down you are praying you don’t leave behind.

When you get to your resting spot, whether it’s camping or around your table, there is still work happening. Dishes need to be cleared, tents need to be pitched, dirty clothes and clutter always seem to need to be gathered. But you know what? It’s all worth it. My son has stolen a phrase from Uncle Si of Duck Dynasty. Bridger says it’s his life’s motto, “Work Hard, Nap Hard.” Truth be told, he’s 11 and naps don’t occur all that often but he says it to make people laugh and most of the time he succeeds. I think it describes perfectly what Christ wants us to do with our lives… Work Hard, Nap Hard.

Genesis 2:2-3 says:

By the seventh day God had finished the work he had been doing; so on the seventh day he rested from all his work. 
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it he rested from all the work of creating that he had done. 
God worked hard before he rested. He created the Earth and everything in it and then took a break. I’m not sure it was actually a nap but he stopped working for a bit and surveyed all that he had created.

 

Rest looks different for each one of us. For me, rest is plopping down with a good book or spending time around the table with a bottle of red wine and my besties. Mr. Wonderful would rather saddle up for a root canal than sit down and read a book. His idea of rest is puttering. When his hands are busy, his mind is at ease which is why when we are with our friends, he does most of the cooking. (Yes, this is one of the reasons he is Wonderful… ) While I was in chemo he designed and built a bistro set for our front porch. When he rests, he creates. When I rest, I grow.  Books and people are my thing, projects and puttering are his.

Project Rod / TiffanyAOIson.com

The Bistro Set

Rest takes effort but it’s always worth it. It’s summer, the perfect season to find some time to rest. Build it into your calendar. It doesn’t have to be huge, take an evening, have some friends over and just hang… okay, hang while your husband cooks. If the hubs doesn’t cook or you are single get Papa Murphy’s, we do this All the time. If you are a putterer like Mr. Wonderful, plan some time to hang in your garden, get the weeds pulled and the veggies harvested. Do whatever you need to do to find the time to decompress and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

Tiffany

 

 

 

 

The Run

 

13.1-  2017 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Just before the race… Yes, I showered beforehand… thin haired bedhead is not cute…

So I mentioned last week at the end of my post about finishing a 1/2 marathon here in town. It was a spectacularly beautiful morning and I was anxious but comfortable at the same time because of my familiarity with the course.

I knew this was going to be a small race but wasn’t prepared for exactly how small. Of the 20 people that were there only 10 lined up to run the 1/2 marathon distance. To add a little more perspective there were 8 elite runners (well, they looked elite to me), a mom with her tween-age son and me. (the son ran a shorter race) As I sized up my competition I thought to myself that maybe I could at least hang with the other mom. That fantasy ended as soon as the race director said, “Go!”

All along I had planned on treating this race like a Saturday morning run and not a race at all. I am so glad I had this mindset when I began because any other notion would have had me in a state of despair within the 1st quarter mile. Instead I took a deep breath, turned up the volume of the podcast I was listening to (thank you Shauna Niequist and Jamie Ivey) and let everything else go.

Some good friends of ours happen to live 4.7 miles up the road I was running on so Mr. Wonderful and Natalie graciously came out to watch me run by… my own personal cheering section, for the girl in last place. I teared up a bit when I saw them as I was glad they were there but also a bit embarrassed by my inability to run any faster. Mr. Wonderful gave me some water and I kept going.

The course was an out and back, so right after this point the faster runners began passing me going back the other direction. They were, of course, gracious and one by one kept telling me, “good job” as they headed back towards the finish line. I’m not sure if the look I saw in their eyes was pity, concern or bewilderment as to why I was out there in the 1st place. Nevertheless I trudged on and finally made it to the turn around spot.

I was 6.5 miles in at the turnaround and already tired. I decided it was time to turn the podcasts off and to turn the music on. Music makes me run a bit faster so I did begin to gain on the other mom running the race. When I reached the spot where Mr. Wonderful was waiting, our friends the Plummer’s were out there as well cheering me on. I didn’t have enough strength to more than give a brief wave and move along.

In mile 10 I caught up to the other mom. I told her, “good job,” she said the same to me and then she found another gear and took off. In mile 11, I was toast and began wondering how I was going to finish this race. Fortunately and unfortunately I knew exactly how far I needed to go to be done. I seriously began to question my sanity at being out there at all. This is a flat course. I know the road like the back of my hand and I began praying in earnest that this race would just end. Wisely, I kept running because if I had stopped, I never would have started again.

I finally finished. I was so tired I forgot to press the stop button on my watch so I am not sure what my time was other than it was way worse than last year’s time on a much harder course. I didn’t have the strength to care that I had come in last. I was done. I set a goal and I accomplished it. It wasn’t pretty or mind blowing but it was finished.

Finished! / TiffanyAOlson.com

Finished 13.1!

The older I get the more I see the need to set goals and to see them through. Dreams and goals keep you going, they help you get out of bed each day in hopes of doing one little thing to get one step closer to seeing those dreams come true. Whatever you are dreaming about at this season of your life, sit down and make a plan as to how you can see that dream get accomplished. Set some goals and take the steps to make it happen. It isn’t always going to be pretty or easy but the achievement of finishing what you have started is so worth all the effort put in.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

PS… My daughter took the running photos. She made sure I knew how she captured me and the view at the same time so I could post them to my blog. I am one blessed mama!

The Other Side of Busy…

Blonde Pixie -- Before Chemo / Tiffanyaolson.com

Ask anyone how they are doing and 9 times out of 10 you will hear, “I’m soo busy!” Followed by a litany of their never ending to do list. People are running themselves ragged and more often than not they have no idea how to change the pace of their lives to create space. Call it white space or margin or blank spots on the calendar, when you look around you’ll not see many people who have ideas about how to create space or what to do with it once created.

I find myself in the created category. I have created space. I like the space I have created. I can breathe. I add things in or take them out when I find it necessary. My life is full, don’t get me wrong but I have space in every day where I chill (even if my chill time is at 4:00 am). I take the time to read or write, run or hang with the kids depending what is happening that day. I tried napping a few times but as soon as I laid down a hot flash ensued which made me frustrated and not able to sleep, so naps are out. The interesting part is every now and again I find I feel guilty about not being as busy as everyone else and yet I have no desire to add more to my life so I feel like I fit in.

Oh sure there are some weeks which are busier than others but as soon as I feel my schedule begin to take over I start cutting stuff out. I assume there is a bit of fear behind my desire to keep space in the schedule because leading up to my cancer diagnosis there were not even a few minutes of nothingness. Come to think of it, our youngest child spent that entire summer sitting under my desk at the office while I worked. Maybe, if there had been some major payoff it would have made all the time I spent working worth it and I wouldn’t regret that season of life or have fear of returning to it.  Several things were accomplished during the season that set us up to be able to move forward with our business. But, I was also diagnosed with cancer and 1/2 the business walked away the following year so it makes all that I accomplished during that time feel irrelevant.

Are You Qualified? / Tiffanyaolson.com

I have mentioned this before but I had, we had, as a family quit living. We were existing. Running from one thing to the next. Always late, usually frantic never at peace.

Now this is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. You have planted much, but harvested little. You eat, but never have enough. You drink, but never have your fill. You put on clothes, but are not warm. You earn wages, only to put them in a purse with holes in it.”

This is what the Lord Almighty says: “Give careful thought to your ways. Go up into the mountains and bring down timber and build my house, so that I may take pleasure in it and be honored,” says the Lord.“You expected much, but see, it turned out to be little. What you brought home, I blew away. Why?” declares the Lord Almighty. “Because of my house, which remains a ruin, while each of you is busy with your own house. Haggai 1:5-9

When I read this portion of scripture all I could think to say was, “ouch.” If this is not a perfect picture of what my life looked like then I don’t know what is. It is referring to the people of Israel building their own houses while neglecting the house of God. In the New Testament, there are several references to our bodies being the house (temple) of God. One reference is found in 1 Corinthians…

19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 1 Corinthians 6:19

My desire is to “give careful thought to my ways,” so that my life and my temple reflect the beauty God wants for me to experience in and around me.

A few weeks back I was in a routine checkup and heard the word, “lumps.” No one likes to hear these words but a cancer survivor least of all. I ended up making several trips to Eugene in a very short time frame. Fortunately, the “lumps” ended up being fatty tissue but I had margin in my schedule to handle the situation. There is nothing like being emotionally taken back to day one of your cancer adventure to remind you not only to keep things in perspective but to also remember what is important and what is a waste of time. Honestly, have never been more grateful for fat in my life!

San Diego run / TiffanyAOlson.com

I certainly don’t have it all figured out and I struggle with not feeling more accomplished and a bit less than my busier friends but for me and for my family, space brings peace.

Have a Fabulous Day My Friends!

An Undivided Heart

My New Hair / TiffanyAOlson.com

 

Teach me your way, LORD, that I may rely on your faithfulness; give me an undivided heart, that I may fear your name. Psalm 86:11

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other…  Matthew 6:24

When I was diagnosed with cancer I became immediately aware of the things in life that were no longer in my control. For those 9 months of treatment, I went where I was told to go and did what I was told to do. I endured the coldness of some medical staff who had forgotten or had never known what it’s like to be scared and vulnerable. And to be fair I met some really awesome people who love what they do and the people they serve. I took the medicine I was supposed to take and I allowed an ungodly number of people to see me disrobed. Honestly, if I had a nickel for the number of medical staff I have paid …PAID in the last two years to see my naked body I would be a millionaire.

Most people it seems become great researchers once they have been diagnosed with something unfamiliar and scary. I am no exception. Along with studying about the type of cancer I had I also began to educate myself about nutrition and healthier eating because with everything that was being done to me, I wanted to learn about something I could do for myself. I wanted to learn about how food was affecting my everyday health and what I could do about it. I won’t go into great detail about this as I have posted on this subject before here and here …It went quite well for a while. Fear and control were great motivators. I could control what I put into my mouth.

It’s been 15 months since my last treatment and life has settled back into somewhat of a normal routine. I have done a good job with not allowing my schedule dictate my life and recreating the hecticness of my life pre-cancer and have kept the demon of “busyness” at bay. I have done a good job at scheduling my time but I have not done a good job of watching what I am eating. The sugar and simple carbs have reentered my life, I feel fluffy and weak and I find myself a bit out of control again but this time I am willingly choosing the misery by choosing not to keep certain foods out of my life. I still spend a lot of time looking up healthy recipes and reading about the effects of sugar on the body and how incredibly addicting it is. I know how bad it is and what it does to your body but I also find a lot of ways to make excuses about why I am eating unhealthy foods … “just this one time.” My “just this one times…” have allowed me to make excuses for bad decisions just about every day. My favorite jeans no longer fit and I am desperate to find a way to be rid of sugar for good.

There is a book that came out in 2010 by Lysa Terkhurst called, Made To Crave. I knew it was about eating and the struggles the author has had in her life in regards to food. I also knew that it was about God creating us to be people that crave… people that crave Him. I put off reading it for quite some time but I finally checked the book out at the library the other day and oh, I am so glad I did. I was expecting to feel convicted and lame about not doing what I know I should be doing. I couldn’t have been more wrong.Made To Crave / Tiffanyaolson.com

I didn’t feel convicted, instead I began to feel empowered with verses like 1 Corinthians 10:23

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”–but not everything is beneficial.

Permissible but not beneficial…

For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago. Ephesians 2:10

Made anew so I can do the things God has planned for me… I was made for more.

The truth is that everything in excess is sin. God wants more for me. He wants more for you.

We are knee deep in baseball at the Olson household right now and I likened this whole food thing to Mr. Wonderful the other day using a baseball analogy. Choosing to indulge is like hitting a home run and stopping at third base. A triple is soo cool! All the way to third base! Wow, what an amazing accomplishment. But the problem is that I had actually hit a home run! Why do I continually stop at third when I could be experiencing the full glory of running ALL the bases! People clap and cheer for you at third base but when you choose not to stop at third and instead go all the way home all your teammates come out screaming and yelling and jumping up and down. The crowd goes wild and the thrill is so much bigger than the third base feeling.

ALLSTARS FLORENCE 3RD Place 2014!!

At Lysa’ s suggestion I have started to talk to myself every time I am tempted to eat in ways that don’t serve my purposes. I say to myself, “You were made for more. God has bigger plans for you, do not give in to the downward spiral that this one decision will create. It’s permissible but not beneficial.” I have spent most of my adult life choosing food over God so armed with this truth, I am doing better. My jeans are not fitting any looser yet but I am going to keep doing the things I know are good for me and press on.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

 

 

Boston Strong….

The Starting line / TiffanyAOlson.com

Have you ever had someone do something amazing for you when you know deep in  your heart you don’t really deserve it?  Monday April 17th is the 121st time the Boston Marathon will be held. It will be the 4th Boston Marathon for my friend Debbie Stemmerman.

Debbie is well known in our little town as an avid runner. There aren’t too many non rainy days, if one gets up early enough, that you can’t see her running through town while the rest of the citizens sleep. Debbie’s kids have all graduated high school but she is still  out on the track coaching kids, raising up the next generation of runners.

Coaching / TiffanyAOlson.com

Coach Debbie…

Besides runner, mom, coach, wife, daughter and friend there is something else Debbie is well known for, her tireless efforts to use running to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

Cancer has affected just about all of us in one form or another. For Debbie she has lost a very dear friend and a nephew to this horrible disease. When I was diagnosed both her friend and her nephew were still living. I didn’t see her a lot during treatment mostly because I was not out in public very much. While some live their cancer loud and proud, I just wanted to be home with my family and get through it as best I could.

I have relayed this story many times and I choke up every single time…

I was pulling into Fred Meyer one day during my season of chemo treatments when I received a text from Debbie. I hadn’t seen her since I had been diagnosed because of my whole hiding out thing. Her text read…

“I took you on my run this morning…Thank you for helping me along the way you were in my thoughts for 17 miles… It was a beautiful morning thank you for being There if only in spirit you were a ton of help😘

It still makes me cry because I so needed to hear that I wasn’t alone and to know people were thinking of me even if I couldn’t bear to show my face.

Well as if that wasn’t enough Miss Debbie texted me a few months back and asked me if it would be alright to add my name to her running shirt on race day as a way to honor me and how far I have come. Race Day! Not just any race. The Boston Marathon!!

Debbie Running Boston / TiffanyAOlson.com

There are countless cancer survivors who have fought harder and been much braver than me so I struggle a bit with being honored in such a way. I am not all that brave or strong. There were a lot of moments during my cancer season when I wish I had been stronger and better able to hold myself together. As far as treatment goes, I did what any other person facing cancer does and by the grace of God I survived.

Debbie has taken her life’s passion… running, and uses it as a tool to make a difference. She has a sponsor page where she takes donations for cancer research, she stays intricately involved with those who are fighting the battle and she champions the memories of those who are no longer with us.

I pay attention to the Boston Marathon every year because I enjoy running but I will always remember the 121st race in 2017 because it’s the year that I was placed right above Debbie’s heart.

Run like the wind Debbie! I love you!

Do something for someone today to show them you care. A simple text to a friend or honoring them in some special way when they are in a hard spot can make more of a difference than you will ever know…

Have A Fabulous Day My Friends!

 

 

Those Who Stay…

Last week I was given a rare opportunity to visit with my people. Not all of my people but with three of the six who have stuck around for the last 35 years or so. This is all of us at our 20th High School Reunion.

Highschool Friends - 20 Year Reunion

Friends for 30 years. All Different, All Strong… All In.

Next year will be our 30th High School Reunion and the baby in the photo celebrated her ninth birthday yesterday.

Julia 9th Birthday / TiffanyAOlson.com

It’s been at least 5 years since I have seen Katie as she and the birthday girl along with her hubby Simon and other daughter Alana live in Kauai. A lot of water has flowed under the bridge since our last encounter and this was the beginning of our happy reunion…

Tiffnkatie / TiffanyAOlson.com

Tiff n Katie 2017

… Here is here is the rest of the crew that was able to assemble in the park that day…

There is just something about people who have known you since you were 15. You are completely free to be exactly who you are, no anxiety or worrying about what they are thinking. At this stage of the game you already know. We don’t all have the same views on life but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that when I got sick I started a group text to my people and sent them an “on my way to chemo selfie” every three weeks. Two and half years later that group text is going strong. We celebrate each other’s victories and sorrows, triumphs, and tragedies.

We only had a few hours together on that sunny Sunday afternoon, but seeing them refreshed my soul like little else can. I feel like a bit of an exposed nerve ending after these last two years and as I mentioned earlier next year is our 30th class reunion. I am struggling a bit with how overwhelming this might feel but my people have assured me that they will be there to walk me through it. Whether I go or not I will always and forever be grateful for the people in my life who have stayed. Staying isn’t easy but the reward is ever so sweet.

Tell your people how much they mean to you. No one can get through this life alone and our differences only make the journey more interesting.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

Self-Control

Recital 2016 12 yrs old / Tiffanyaolson.com

Me -n- My Girl 2016

Last month I turned 47. Forty-Seven! I have already voiced the good the bad and the ugly on this situation so I will move on. But what I didn’t mention, was the gift I received from my 13-year-old daughter.

Nat Gift to me1 / TiffanyAOlson.com

I am a sucker for gifts. In Gary Chapman’s book, The 5 Love Languages, he discusses 5 ways people give and receive love. In a nutshell, the Love Languages are Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Physical Touch, Receiving Gifts and Acts of Service.  I am squarely in the Receiving Gifts and Quality Time categories. The reason I love gifts doesn’t have so much to do with the gift but rather the fact that someone took the time to make me feel special. I will keep this card forever because she made it especially for me. Natalie communicates love through Acts of Service and Gifts. I don’t think I have heard her say I love you audibly since she was a little girl. She has her own ways of expressing love and I have worked hard to learn her language.

Nat 2017 13 yrs / TiffanyAOlson.com

Natalie – Gettin Ready For Sheep – Winter 2017

At first glance, the gift might seem odd. She gave me the gift of Self-Control and then added a box of Milk Duds because those are my favorites. Why self-control? Well, I spend a fair amount of time talking about eating healthy and chasing my running dreams. I move the needle forward a bit every day but I slip up sometimes too. She’s letting me know she’s listening. She hears me. She watches me. Natalie wants me to know she desires to see me succeed with the dreams and goals I have set for myself.

Nat gift to me2 / TiffanyAOlson.com

Happy Birthday Mom!!! I love that you are my mom (even if you are loud☺)

The “even if you are loud” part is our thing. I am very outgoing and expressive, she is not. I check in with her now and again to make sure that my over expressiveness isn’t embarrassing for her or making her uncomfortable. There is a difference in trying to embarrass her (which is fun) and doing it unintentionally (which is not fun) and causing undo harm. She’s like Mr. Wonderful in that they find the antics of expressiveness amusing but would not ever consider being that way themselves. So I check in because I don’t ever want me to damage, us.

and I hope that one day you will be able to run your marathon and enjoy it and I hope that you are having a wonderful day.

P.S. I was tired and feeling a little nice.

The postscript is her explaining why she’s communicating affection. It doesn’t come naturally for her like it does for Bridger and me.

Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully.♥

2 John 1:8

My heart melted. She all on her own looked up a scripture on Self-Control and wrote it out for me. For a girl who spends very little time communicating her heart, this was huge. I love that Natalie took the time to tell me in her own unique way, how much she loves me. She gave me something tangible to hold on to on the days when her feelings might not appear so obvious. For this, I am forever grateful. No, I didn’t save the Milk Duds… I polished those babies off before the weekend was out.

This gift was a great reminder to me of the responsibility I carry as a parent. My kids are watching to see if I am going to put in the work to fulfill my dreams. Nothing worth having in this life comes easily and although I blow it at times and down an entire box of Milk Duds in two days, I also go running in the early morning hours no matter what the weather is doing. The Oregon Coast provides ample opportunity for one to skip out on a run because of adverse weather conditions and they are watching me get it done anyway.

As they get older and begin to pursue their own dreams I want them to look back and have the courage to face challenges that will come. Hopefully, they will do this because of the example they were given of someone who didn’t give up no matter how many times she was knocked down. I ran a 4 miler on Sunday. Only 22.2 more to be ready for my fall marathon. Lucky for me I have a family who wants to watch me succeed.

Bridge n Me / TiffanyAOlson.com

Bridge – My New Speed Coach

Have a fabulous day my friends!

 

Who Are You?

My New Hair / TiffanyAOlson.com

Personality quizzes. I love to take these little tests. There is nothing out there with 100% accuracy but whether it’s a quiz to figure out how I relate to the world or how the world relates to me, I find it intriguing. The other day someone recommended a book based on the personality quiz called the Enneagram. In its simplest form, I understand it to be a test which places you in a category of one of nine personality types. I searched for a quiz online recently while I was running errands with Mr. Wonderful and began to answer the questions while he was popping in and out of hardware stores.

It didn’t take long to realize I couldn’t answer the questions being asked. After the 3rd or 4th question in which I consulted Mr. Wonderful to help me, it dawned on both of us that my personality has changed a bit. When he kept meeting my questions with hesitation or complete silence I chimed in and vocalized what we were both thinking: Two years ago, we would have had an obvious answer to this question. It’s crazy, neither one of us has an answer for who I am today. There haven’t been enough social interactions to determine what my new typical course of action will be. The only sure thing is I am much more reserved now than I was and I am finding it difficult to ascertain if this is good or bad. Am I more reserved because God wanted to smooth off some rough edges? Or does the reservation stem from an overwhelming sense of feeling exposed, weird and different?

Everyone wakes up at one point and wonders who they are on the other side of tragedy because no one in this life is spared, not even Jesus. My question is where to go from here? At what point do I look at a group of questions and once again say, “Oh this is so me!” It was hard to read those questions and not know how to respond.

Fortunately, while I am trying to figure out who this new earthly me is the spiritual me never has to wonder who I am or how I fit in. Who I am in Christ never changes, it never diminishes or becomes questionable no matter what is happening in my physical world. I would love to tell you I am so well versed in scripture that a plethora of verses popped into my head to remind me who I am in Christ. But since this is not my reality I did a quick google search and came across a sheet created by Joyce Meyers . Here are a few that stood out:

I am complete in Him. Who is the Head of all principality and power (Collossians 2:10)

… The Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world (1 John 4:4)

I am God’s Masterpiece… created anew so I can do the good things he planned for me long ago (Ephesians 2:10)

I am more than a conquerer through Him who loves me (Romans 8:37)

I am part of a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a  purchased people (1 Peter 2:9)

Reading these words causes me to take a big sigh of relief because it reminds me where I need to go to find the only answers that matter. All that I go through in this life, God is using to make me more like him. I will continue to look to the one who never changes and trust that the newer version of me is better equipped than before to draw others to Him.

Have a fabulous day my friends!

Victoria’s Secret…

47th Birthday 2017 / Tiffanyaolson.com

FORTY SEVEN!!

So I turned 47 this week. FORTY SEVEN!! On the one hand since I spent all of 2015 trying to stay alive so it’s really great that I am still here. On the other hand FORTY SEVEN! None of my 40ish birthday’s have affected me like this one. Well, to be honest, I thought I was handling my 40th birthday well until I looked back on the photos of my 40th year and noted the hair issues I had. I think I changed my hair color 4 times that year. Other than my year of baldness my 40th hair year definately ranks up there with one of the worst hair years ever.

I didn’t realize I was struggling with getting a year older until I stepped into a Victoria’s Secret store the other day. See, in a fit of rage after my cancer diagnosis I threw all of my bras away. Not that I could have used them any longer because my body has changed so much, but tossing them out made me feel empowered in the moment so I went with it. All this to say, for Christmas, Mr. Wonderful gave me a gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret so I could replenish my stash.

I had my last surgery in December and he wanted me, when I was ready, to be able to go and purchase myself some new pretty things. Let’s not kid ourselves here though, I am very aware that there is a small part of him that is wanting to relive the glory days of when we were 1st married and all of my bras and underwear matched and looked crisp and clean. What he doesn’t know is I went and spent my life savings at Victoria’s Secret a week before our wedding so that he would think always having a matching set was normal and in no way had it been 5 years since the last time I had purchased a new bra. I’m exaggerating a bit here but you get my drift.

The nearest Victoria’s Secret to our home is 2.5 hours away. I was in Eugene the other day for a Dr. visit and I went to the mall to pick up a few things. As I passed the in the Victoria’s Secret store I decided to stop in and have a look around. This particular store has just been remodeled, everything is flashy and big, all of the models are thin and small. Don’t get me wrong I love how pretty some of the things are in there but at the same time I was beginning to think that maybe their only clientele these days is 18 with no children. Certainly not women whose breasts/gel packs are so deformed only a husband who loves her could look at them and still think she is beautiful.

Thankfulness / Tiffanyaolson.com

No, my hair was never this long… but those clip in extensions sure made me feel cute!

As I walked through the store my eyes started to fill with tears at the prospect of having to come back and try anything on. I was grateful that I had a bit more time to wait for the horrible day that is coming. I begin to contemplate how much wine or shots of tequila it would take to make me enjoy this process. Yes, I am that mature. Not stupid enough to follow through but immature enough to dream about it. Do 47 year olds even shop at Victoria’s Secret? How can a person be so thankful to be alive and so discouraged about getting older? I’m sure it has a bit to do with the fact that like most people I thought my life would look a little different at this stage of the game. I thought I would have a bit more figured out and life wouldn’t still feel so turbulent. At the same time I am thankful that I get more time with Mr. Wonderful and our kids so one day soon I will buck up and take my lumpy self back to the store and buy some bras… but not today.

Have a fabulous day my friends!